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Faith of the Whos: Freedom Through Song Part II

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Since 1966, an annual TV tradition at Christmastime is Dr. Suess’s beloved animated story “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” Watch what happens after the Grinch steals all of the Christmas stuff from the Whos down in Whoville:

I’m going to digress a little bit. Bullies always try to control others. One way to do this is by theft, or by cultivating scarcity. This is virtually a matter of policy in totalitarian societies run by dictators. Scarcity breeds discontent. The idea is that if you take people’s stuff, they’ll be dependent on you. Scarcity also divides people so that they can be made to fight like dogs for any scraps. But that’s not so possible if people are allowed to bond together freely in autonomous families and communities. When they have the strength of personal relationships based in trust, people learn from one another and pool their resources. They can build faith, goodwill, and real trust, the best defenses against tyranny.

Singing is a timeless way of spreading that goodwill. When it’s joyful and spontaneous, it stirs the soul and creates an irresistible urge for human fellowship. That’s why some thugs — like the Taliban in Afghanistan — actually ban singing altogether. They see it as a threat to their control over others.

The Whos were industrious, happy, prosperous, and friendly. The Grinch couldn’t stand them and especially hated the sound of their singing on Christmas morning. So he devised a classic plan: just steal all of their stuff while pretending to be Santa Claus! He took the Whos’ food, their presents to one another, their decorations, everything. Then he looked forward to hearing their sobs as they woke up to the desolation.

But it turned out the Whos had a song in their hearts that couldn’t be suppressed. As we deal with the tyrannies of everyday life, it’s good to remember this. Our unique voices, when shared, are the basis of all that we can create, give, and love. Sharing that song means reaching out and speaking truth in love so that others can discover their voices too. Even the grinches.

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